Best Business Longreads

From the pitfalls of aid in Africa to the epic downfall of Blackberry, The Daily Beast brings you the best in business journalism from the week of December 7, 2013.

Joe Raedle

Is Marissa Mayer Helping Yahoo—Or Hurting the Struggling Tech Giant?

Bethany McLean – Vanity Fair

A year-and-a-half into her tenure at longtime Silicon Valley zombie Yahoo!, many are still trying to figure out whether Mayer, with all her press attention and razzle dazzle, is the real deal.

The Rise and Fall of Blackberry

Felix Gillette, Diane Brady, and Caroline Winter – Bloomberg Businessweek

How did BlackBerry, the phone product made by Research in Motion, go from being the manufacturer of an item powerful people could not do without to a company on the verge of failure?

Africa’s Aid Mess

Paul Theroux – Barron’s

Philanthropy by westerners in Africa is almost as old as the imperialiasm that ravaged the continent. And yet, for all the untold billions spent on aid in Africa, some experts argue that by some measures, aid has made things worse for the millions in poverty there.

The Search for a Blockbuster Insomnia Drug

Ian Parker – New Yorker

A recent federal estimate said that nearly nine million Americans use sleeping pills like Ambien. However, those drugs have notoriously tough side effects. Now, Merck thinks it has found a replacement drug, and that it will make boatloads of money.

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Can Politico Take Manhattan?

Felix Gillette – Bloomberg Businessweek

Seeing a niche where few others saw one, the team behind Politico launched a website that some (critics and supporters alike) argue changed not only the way the power game in Washington is covered, but also the way it is played. With its recent acquisition of Capital New York, that team, led by Jim VandeHei, is seeking to do the same with New York City.